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Activism and the Social Foundations of Education

The people who established the social foundations of education during the 1920s and 1930s—William H. Kilpatrick, lohn Dewey, George S. Counts, and Harold Rugg—were all committed to social activism. This was particularly true during the 1930s and the Great Depression, when they developed a philosophy of “social reconstruction,” whose goal was to overcome the failure of the capitalist economy system by establishing a more just and equitable economic and social system.

Perhaps nowhere is the concept of a social foundations scholar being engaged in social activism more clearly articulated than in the work of George S. Counts. In his 1932 book—Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order?—he called for teachers to act as conscious social agents. As educated and concerned citizens, he felt ...

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